Indiana Joins U.S., U.N. in Tribute to Mandela

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December 6, 2013 — His native land and the world are mourning the loss of South African leader Nelson Mandela, that country’s first black president who died yesterday at 95.

Flags in Indiana and across the nation are to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Monday.

That placement is a directive from President Barack Obama made in a proclamation today.  Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities be lowered in accordance with the presidential proclamation for the death of Nelson Mandela.  The anti-apartheid leader died yesterday.

Pence also invites residents and businesses to join in the observance of Mandela’s death and legacy by lowering their flags to half-staff.

Mandela was a former boxer, attorney and freedom fighter who spent nearly one-third of his life as a political prisoner of apartheid, the legalized racist system of oppression controlled by South Africa’s white minority. Amazingly he emerged advocating forgiveness, even acceptance of the minority Afrikaans culture to form a democratic non-racial government.

His transformation from freedom fighter to statesman caused admirers to compare Mandela to Martin Luther King Jr. and Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.

South Africa’s current leader, President Jacob Zuma, announced Mandela death during a TV broadcast Thursday night.  Zuma said the nation had lost its greatest son and that the people had lost a father.  Zuma said Mandela “peacefully” while with his family.

President Barack Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and ‘profoundly good’ man with the death of Mandela.

Obama says Mandela “no longer belongs to us.  He belongs to the ages.”  Speaking from the White House, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

Obama met with Mandela’s family  this year when he visited South Africa, though he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalized throughout the U.S. president’s visit.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Mandela was “a giant for justice” whose “selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom” inspired many people around the world.

The U.N. Security Council interrupted a meeting on the tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and stood for a minute in silent tribute to Mandela.

South Africans are reacting to the Mandela’s death with deep sadness at the loss of a man considered by many to be the father of the nation.

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